Conference Grants: Yairamaren Roman Maldonado in Davis

03 Nov, 2017

Conference Grants: Yairamaren Roman Maldonado in Davis

This past Fall, we were pleased to offer several grants to support our students in sharing their research at the premiere conferences in their field and help defray the associated costs. Below, Yairamaren Roman Maldonado reports on her experience at Imagining America.

Artists and Scholars in Public Life, UC Davis

The Imagining America (IA) conference creates spaces where scholars and artists can meet to discuss engaged scholarship and art. In the media table in which I participated, we discussed the methodology of digital storytelling (DS) and challenges we’ve faced in the field. As part of my presentation I focused on the intersections between DS and literature and how I modified the more traditional DS method in order to combine it with hands-on writing and technology workshops in the context of “Narrativas digitales & literatura en Puerto Rico” [Digital storytelling & literature in Puerto Rico]- the research project I developed last year as part of my dissertation research. I presented the collective narrative that participants created and spoke primarily to the potential of working with many participants in a single story as opposed to the more traditional single storyteller. Other colleagues presented their DS projects in Cuba, Tijuana, Baltimore and Seattle. The DS project based in Cuba intersected strongly with mine in that it focused specially on how DS can generate decolonizing and liberating discourse when used as a methodology. Other projects focused on whether DS is a powerful tool in activism and the classroom.

The conference as a whole is a very stimulating space with plenty of interesting activities. One of these was the Story Booth, where, with a story buddy, you could consider a series of questions about what matters to you and what brought you to the conference. These thoughts were archived afterwards as part of the conference. The conference also had a form that you could fill out to have your writing included in a collective poem created by all participants that was read at the end of the conference. I also had the opportunity to attend sessions about topics as broad as liberatory education and community based organizations seeking to defend public education or public engagement in rural areas. IA was quite a different experience in the conferences world and I am looking forward to continue attending and learning more from what it has to offer.